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Measure to Combat Ulster Bias by Curbing State Investments Shelved

May 14, 1987|RICHARD C. PADDOCK | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Unable to win support from his colleagues, Assemblyman Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica) on Wednesday shelved until next year a bill aimed at pressuring Great Britain to end religious discrimination in Northern Ireland.

After hearing testimony from a variety of witnesses from Northern Ireland on the problem of religious persecution in the troubled province, none of the members of the Assembly International Trade and Intergovernmental Relations Committee was prepared to support the legislation.

Hayden, noting that this was the first time the issue had been aired in the Legislature, said he would continue to push for the bill that could ultimately halt state pension funds from being invested in companies doing business in Northern Ireland if the firms do not attempt to end discrimination against the Catholic minority.

Assemblyman Bruce Bronzan (D-Fresno), reflecting the ambivalence of committee members after hearing the testimony, said, "I feel it's difficult to make that kind of decision at this point, even though it may well be later on down the line the decision we ultimately make."

The legislation, similar to measures adopted in New York and Massachusetts, would encourage the state to invest in companies that agree to abide by a set of nine guidelines known as the MacBride Principles when doing business in Northern Ireland. The state would be encouraged to sell its investments in companies that do not.

The principles include increasing the number of Catholic employees, publicly advertising job openings, banning provocative religious symbols in workplaces and developing training programs for minority employees.

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